Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Matt 24-25 Jesus & the End Times - P2

Matthew 24:15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),

An Illustration - working one of the largest warehouses in the world
Nearly fifteen years ago I worked at UPS shipping at a major U.S City.  The warehouse where I worked had over 300 employees handling over 1 million packages a day.  When the packages came in, our job was to load them into trucks going to their intended destinations.  I can remember conveyor belts running everywhere, up high and on ground level.  The building was enormous, stretching almost half a mile in each direction and spanning 200 feet from floor to ceiling.  Quite literally we handled all things coming in and out.  When I look at Jesus' sermon "The Olivet Discourse" in Matthew 24-25, I picture it in much the same manner.  All themes on last things (eschatology) meet in Jesus' sermon.  Packaged truths about the end times from the Old Testament find their fulfillment in this one sermon.  Furthermore, truths that will later be developed by the Apostles in the New Testament have their beginning in Jesus' sermon. Yesterday we outlined Matthew 24-25, today we want to see how much this sermon is central to the Bible's teaching on end times events.

Seeing how Matthew 24-25 is central to the Bible's discussions on the end times
1. For one thing, you may have noticed in the opening verse of today's blog that Jesus quoted from Daniel.  Daniel was a prophet who lived some 600 years before Jesus.  He was only 15 years of age when he and the Southern Kingdom of Judah were carried off to the Babylonian exile.  For 70 years he would live, all the while receiving timely and timeless visions from God about events near to his day and events yet to come.  Jesus refers to Daniel several times: quoting Daniel 9:27, 11:31, 12:11 in Matthew 24:15; Daniel 7:13 in Matthew 24:30 and quoting Daniel 12:1 in Matthew 24:21.  Daniel's series of visions and predictions are important in the study of Bible prophecy, and Jesus uses Daniel almost exclusively for much of what He communicates in Matthew 24-25.

2. Other prophetic books are background to the parables used by Jesus in his sermon.  For example, the prophets Jeremiah (5:17) and Haggai (2:19) utilize figs or fig trees in their prophecies of judgment.  Isaiah chapter 58:7 is used quite a bit in describing the actions of the righteous in Matthew 25:35-36

3. With the Old Testament used as the background for Jesus Sermon, it is clear He is the fulfillment and completion of the Old Testament predictions.  But what of the New Testament?  Paul speaks about the end of the age and the abomination of desolation in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-11, a major point made by Jesus in Matthew 24:5, 14, 15 & 21. We also see the theme of "being alert" which comprises Jesus' closing point in his sermon is utilized by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4, 6-8.  Then of course the theme of judgment figures prominently in 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 19-21.  What are "seeds of thought" spoken of her by the Master become fully mature trees of thought in the book of Acts, the Epistles and Revelation. 

I hope that has whetted your appetite to want to study Jesus' words a little more closely.  May the Lord richly bless you dear friend as you continue to study His word. 

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